Jean MONIER, “The Death of Adonis”
Venus looks at Adonis dying killed by a wild boar

There is a little text at the origin of this representation of “The Death of Adonis” painted by Jean Monier and exposed on the second storey of the Château de Cheverny.
It has been written by a latin writter that lived during the roman empire, Ovid, and is part of Book 10 of his most famous work, the Metamorphoses.
It tells the tragic end of Adonis, lover of Venus.
Here it is below.


708 She warned him, and made her way through the air, drawn by harnessed swans, but his courage defied the warning.
710 By chance, his dogs, following a well-marked trail, roused a wild boar from its lair, and as it prepared to rush from the trees, Cinyras’s grandson caught it a glancing blow.
Immediately the fierce boar dislodged the blood-stained spear, with its crooked snout, and chased the youth, who was scared and running hard.
715 It sank its tusk into his groin, and flung him, dying, on the yellow sand.
Cytherea, carried in her light chariot through the midst of the heavens, by her swans’ swiftness, had not yet reached Cyprus: she heard from afar the groans of the dying boy,
720 and turned the white birds towards him.
When, from the heights, she saw the lifeless body, lying in its own blood, she leapt down, tearing her clothes, and tearing at her hair, as well, and beat at her breasts with fierce hands, complaining to the fates.
725 « And yet not everything is in your power » she said.
« Adonis, there shall be an everlasting token of my grief, and every year an imitation of your death will complete a re-enactment of my mourning.
But your blood will be changed into a flower.
730 Persephone, you were allowed to alter a woman’s body, Menthe’s, to fragrant mint: shall the transformation of my hero, of the blood of Cinyras, be grudged to me? »
So saying, she sprinkled the blood with odorous nectar: and, at the touch, it swelled up, as bubbles emerge in yellow mud.
735 In less than an hour, a flower, of the colour of blood, was created such as pomegranates carry, that hide their seeds under a tough rind.
739 But enjoyment of it is brief; for, lightly clinging, and too easily fallen, 739 the winds deflower it, which are likewise responsible for its name, windflower: anemone.

Ovid, “The Metamorphoses”, Book 10, 708 and following

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